Barry Brunetti could have chosen to play a position other than quarterback.
It’s a good thing he didn’t.
Brunetti, the News Sentinel’s fifth-best prospect in the state, began his career at Memphis University School relying more on his legs than his arm.
The pro-style quarterback with athleticism to spare said he never doubted that he was meant to play quarterback.
“I kind of felt as I got older, I was going to get better with my progressions and learn how to stay in the pocket instead of just running,” he said. “That came out to be true.
“As I got older I matured more. It’s just easy to me now — staying in the pocket and throwing first.”
There were skeptics who doubted Brunetti would be able to develop into a pass-first quarterback.
That criticism turned him into a better player.
“That’s one thing I know I have is a chip on my shoulder,” the 6-foot-1, 205-pounder said. “I can’t just get (taller). It makes me work harder.”
Brunetti’s hard work turned him into a top-flight quarterback.
Brunetti committed to West Virginia last month after strongly considering offers from Mississippi State and Penn State.
I’m still going to kind of research Tennessee. Even though I’m a solid commitment (to West Virginia) it’s still Tennessee and I’m still in state, but it would be hard for me to de-commit because I’m very solid to West Virginia.
He also received interest from Tennessee.
West Virginia’s offense flourished in recent years under the guidance of former quarterback Pat White, who was drafted by the Miami Dolphins in April’s NFL draft.
White successfully ran the spread-option offense of coach Rich Rodriguez, who left to become Michigan’s head coach in 2008.
Brunetti said West Virginia’s new offense, led by coordinator Jeff Mullen, will allow him to use his arm as much as his legs.
“They don’t have to really run the quarterback like they did Pat,” Brunetti said. “They’re going to do some under-center stuff, too, which is good for me. I can do both.”
Some schools are hoping Brunetti will change his college decision.
He said he’s still being recruited by Mississippi State and Memphis. He said UT also has shown interest, especially lately.
Brunetti told the News Sentinel on Tuesday he intends to contact UT’s coaches.
“I’m still going to kind of research Tennessee,” he said. “Even though I’m a solid commitment (to West Virginia) it’s still Tennessee and I’m still in state, but it would be hard for me to de-commit because I’m very solid to West Virginia.”
Critics would have never expected to see Brunetti on the News Sentinel’s list of top prospects — especially as a quarterback.
He said his success comes from his work ethic and determination.
“When I was younger I always wanted to be one of these guys I was watching growing up,” Brunetti said. “For it to happen, it’s a dream come true. It’s a blessing and an honor.”
Josh Ward is a freelance contributor.